It is late September as A Time To Scatter Stones: A Mathew Scudder Novella begins with Elaine and Scudder enjoying a nice evening walk home after an evening out with friends. A subject almost came up while they were there and then Elaine thought better of it and the moment passed. Now it is coming up again as they head towards home.

That moment passed because Elaine thought better about talking about her past. A past that includes her years as a prostitute. She has started attending a support group of sorts for those who were once prostitutes and got out as well as those in the life now and looking to get out. In short, think of it as AA for prostitutes and that pretty much covers it. A fellow member, Ellen Lipscomb, is being sponsored by Ellaine and she has a problem.


A former client thinks that now that Ellen Lipscomb is not seeing other men, she is his exclusive property. Ellen wants Scudder’s help in getting rid of the guy as she does not want him around. She certainly never wants to see him again and didn’t want to see him the night he barged into her home. But, she was scared. He’s big, confident, and it was easier to play it safe and let him have again what he had before than try to stop it.


She moved afterwards, hid for a while, and then got into a new place. That did not work as he has found her again. She doesn’t know his real name or anything about him so she can’t go to the cops. Not to mention the fact that she feels the cops would never take her seriously because of her past line of work. Despite the fact she is scared of him, she does not realize just how much danger she is possibly in from this guy.  She needs Scudder’s help more than she knows and he knows how limited his help can be at this age.


For Scudder, his old contacts on the police force are dead or moved to a warmer climate. The cops he knows now pretty much know nothing about him and therefore won’t take anything he says seriously. Any other help might have gotten back in the day is nonexistent now. Then there is the fact that he is an old man with a troublesome knee so the physical angle of dealing with the problem is out. The old dog is still plenty capable though and is on the case in A Time To Scatter Stones: A Mathew Scudder Novella.


It goes without saying that this book is a solidly good read and part of a great series. This novella unspools at a leisurely pace with musings about life, passion, addictions, and other topics as they come up. These musings usually take the form of interesting conversations between Scudder and Elaine. There is also a touch of erotic here that is fairly tame and yet will offend some readers. In short, much is going on here beyond the core mystery problem. While those other things tend to slow down the overall pace, they also bring nuance and depth to A Time To Scatter Stones: A Mathew Scudder Novella.


A good read and one well worth your time.



A Time To Scatter Stones: A Mathew Scudder Novella

Lawrence Block

LB Productions

Subterranean Press (Print)

January 2019

Digital ARC (Hardback, eBook, and audio also available)



I was privileged to receive a digital ARC of this book a number of weeks ago with no expectations of a review. My copy also included an introduction to the upcoming anthology, At Home in the Dark.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2019



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